Send In The Clowns

Blog 2191 – 10.17.2021

Send In The Clowns

“Isn’t it rich, are we a pair, me here at last on the ground, you in mid air? Send in the clowns.” I love clowns especially the clown in me. A few weeks ago I found the clown music box pictured above in a resale shop in Norfolk, Nebraska and happily parted with the few cents it took to add it to my collection. Years ago I read that to help your friends and family know what to get you as a gift on special occasions that you should let it be known that you are a collector. And then they will always be on the look out for those particular things to add to your collection. People who love you want to get you a thoughtful gift, make it easy for them and more meaningful to you.

Back to clowns and music boxes. The pretty sad clown pictured plays “Send in the Clowns” a song written in 1973 by Stephen Sondheim for the musical, A Little Night Music, adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night. The song was written especially for the actress chosen to play Desiree on Broadway, Glynis Johns. Send in the Clowns went on to become Sondheim’s most famous song after it was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1973 and Judy Collins’ version charted in 1975 and 1977. Many others have recorded it, making it a standard.

The “clowns” in the title per a 1990 Sondheim interview do not refer to circus clowns but fools. We all have played the fool especially in matters of the heart breaking others and our own hearts in the process. The great comedians, the great clowns, often became so attempting to mask their own broken hearts with laughter and playfulness in the entertainment of others.

Great jokes and great pratfalls and clowning are all about timing. Barry Manilow, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, in his hit song Somewhere In The Night sings, “We had the right love at the wrong time, I knew I wouldn’t have you for a long time.” Short or long, love really makes a deep impression on us and helps us discover Who and Whose we really are.

In that interview with Stephen Sondheim that I referred above, he says further about the song that it is a saying during a performance that isn’t going well to, “bring in the clowns” meaning joke it up, go for the laughs.

A dear friend of mine who lived with a lot of personal heartache in her life used to smile and say, “It is better to laugh than to cry.” There is a Bible proverb that says “Laughter is the best medicine.” So when things are not going as you might wish they were or the timing seems a bit off count on your loving and infinite source to bring in the clowns.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

(Alias Dee Jay the Clown)

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